Blood pressure study: Which website issue cause users the most stress?

Majority of marketers stretched to breaking point during the pandemic

Slow loading pages cause users the most stress, followed by pop-ups, broken pages and auto-playing music and videos, according to a new blood pressure level study.

Many of us have become accustomed to using various websites every day for a multitude of reasons. Whether it be online banking or shopping, most of us want our user experience (UX) with a website to be flawless and enjoyable as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Interested in user experience, Cyber Duck UX Agency created three websites with numerous issues which 1,100 participants tested, to establish which website issues cause users the most stress as measured by their blood pressure levels.

Cyber Duck UX Agency found that slow loading pages cause website users the most stress as average blood pressure levels jumped from 111 mm Hg to 134 mm Hg. This led to an astonishing increase of 21% in blood pressure levels.

Key findings

• Slow loading pages is the website issue which causes users the most stress with blood pressure levels rising by 21%, from 111 mm Hg to 134 mm Hg
• In second place, multiple pop-ups elevated participants’ blood pressure levels from 108 mm Hg to 130 mm Hg – a 20% increase
• Other website issues which cause a significant rise in participants’ blood pressure levels include auto-play music (20%), broken pages (17%) and auto-play videos (16%)
• Disorienting animations is the website issue which leads to the least user stress with blood pressure levels changing from 102 mm Hg to 107 mm Hg, a 5% increase

The average page load times of the websites used in the study were between 8.8 – 10.5 seconds -participants used words such as ‘frustrating’ and ‘excruciating’ to describe the websites’ page load speeds. Participants felt anything above five seconds for a page load time is ‘inconvenient’ and ‘unacceptable’.

Multiple pop-ups are in second position as they caused participants’ blood pressures to rise from 108 mm Hg to 130 mm Hg. The pop-ups participants saw during the experiment included newsletter subscriptions, discount codes, sale awareness and trial offer pop-ups. Participants stated that the use of multiple pop-ups was ‘annoying’ and ‘unnecessary’.

In third place is auto-play music as participants’ blood pressure elevated by an average of 20%, from 106 mm Hg to 127 mm Hg. Participants thought the unwelcome blaring of auto-play music on the websites was ‘infuriating’ and ‘disruptive’.

In comparison, auto-play videos fared better in fifth place as participants’ blood pressure surged from 104 mm Hg to 121 mm Hg, a 16% increase. Even though participants stated that auto-play videos were ‘distracting’, they said it was easier for them to spot and turn off the source of the sound compared to auto-play music.

Interestingly, in seventh position are the websites hard to read fonts which led to a 13% rise in participants’ blood pressure levels, from 104 mm Hg to 118 mm Hg. Participants thought the fonts on the website were ‘unwelcoming’ and ‘inconsiderate’.

On the other end in tenth place, participants took the least issue with disorienting animations on the websites with average blood pressure levels changing from 102 mm Hg to 107 mm Hg – only a 5% increase.

Slightly above disorienting animations is multiple image sliders, which rank ninth. Within the study, there were nine image sliders (also known as carousels) per website – the use of this many image sliders elevated the blood pressure of participants from 99 mm Hg to 109 mm Hg. Participants said any more than three image sliders on a website page are ‘excessive’ and ‘oversaturated’.


Only systolic (mm Hg) blood pressure readings were used for this study. Systolic (mm Hg) refers to the amount of pressure in arteries during the contraction of the heart muscle. Systolic blood pressure categories explained: Normal (90 – 120 mm Hg), Elevated (121 – 129 mm Hg), High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage One (130 – 139 mm Hg), High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage Two (140 or higher) and Hypertension Crisis (Higher than 180). The age range of participants in the study was between 20 – 58 years and none of the participants had any illnesses/health conditions before taking part in the study. None of the participants in the study had a working and/or educational background in information systems (IT), technology or web development/design. All included participants stated they were ‘very confident’ or ‘confident’ users of the internet prior to the study.

Source: Cyber Duck